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The LNP’s agenda for welfare. A clarification of what drug testing really means.

A clarification to my previous post “Drug Testing and the LNP’s ongoing stigmatization of the poor”


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  1. contemporaryshaman

    Why not actually renew job centres (that do next to nothing but be a parol officer) to get people jobs inline with what skills and strengths they have rather than wasting money penalising those who are suffering already? And why not randomly drugs test those in parliament for cocaine and alcohol? Yeah right!

  2. Stephen Tardrew

    Tracy your article is spot on. Now we don’t want over regulation of business, corptocracy, mining and the banks while they were complicit in causing financial collapses (hint the are all interlinked and share board members) as they are too important and too big to fail so lets not send these bastards to jail. Where the hell is the competitive advantage of efficient markets in that. Let’s just fine corporations a fraction of the money they extort, for example libor rigging, so the impact is actually a minimal percentage of profits and is no deterrent. Use quantitative easing to underpin balance sheets and reserves while buying up derivatives. Same with drug companies when they make false claims look at the fines compared to profits from the drugs themselves. These people are destroying lives in massive numbers and getting off with token fines. Many homeless people and unemployed are on the streets because of them. Look around the world for heavens sake. We managed to avoid the GFC but now Abbott want’s to act as if we are a failure and should join the rabble. Are these people out of their minds. No accountability for tax havens and on and on it goes.

    So while the world economy and resources have been been shredded and the environment going to pot, brought to you by Tony’s mates, lets make those greedy unemployed bastards pay for the global financial crisis to deflect from the real issues. What the hell planet are you people living on. Not the one I can see.

    They know these policies are discriminatory, ridiculously expensive and ineffective but they simply do not want the lens focused on themselves. I am sick of my ignorant countrymen blustering about the big bad mining tax and carbon tax and the nasty debt with no attempt to make the corptocracy accountable while angrily subjecting fellow citizens to draconian welfare cuts. It was not called the Global Financial Crisis for nothing and it is still with us as we are suffering the final throws of a dead world economy. Look at Japan if we are not careful we could go into deflation for decades.

    It is time to wake up Australia you survived because of good management and good luck and you hand the country over to those who destroyed the world economy. Great call fellow citizens you just bought yourselves a corporate dictatorship. Doing more of the same is a solution? Where the hell have you all been. Leave off the poor, disabled, aged, unemployed, indigenous Australians and marginalized and focus upon inequality and greed. The pure irrationality of it all makes me want to kick my fellow citizens well and truly up the arse.

    Damn that felt good.

  3. francescaagosti

    Trish Corry, I could not agree with you more.

    This measure is indeed as you state a ‘stigmatisation’ of the poor, and I would go a step further to say it is vilification of the poor, the worst type of vilification.

    Are we so naive as a society to believe that recreational drug use is the sole domain of the unemployed?

    Recreational drug use in society has existed for centuries, and is alive and well in all social demographics, including the upper middle classes, including law enforcement, including among our so-called elected ‘leaders’.

    When we look at ‘recreational’ drug use should we also not include alcohol in this category? Are the privileged in society, including politicians immune to recreational drug and alcohol abuse?

    Let’s take one example, former Liberal MP and WA Treasurer Troy Buswell, whose questionable behaviour has included in 2005 sniffing the chair of a female colleague while writhing around in “mock sexual pleasure” at Parliament House, and on 23 February this year crashing his ministerial vehicle into parked cars in the early hours of the morning when drunkenly returning from a wedding in Subiaco. Several months after the last incident Mr Buswell pleaded guilty to 11 traffic offences and was fined $3,000 and banned from driving for 12 months. It appears clear that Mr Buswell has a problem with alcohol, a substantial problem that except for luck on his part could have resulted in death or serious injury to others, yet has his behaviour prompted ad hoc mandatory testing of all politicians for alcohol use/abuse? Because the current suggestion of mandatory drug testing of the unemployed would be tantamount to testing all politicians for alcohol use as a result of what amounts to criminal conduct by Troy Buswell.

    This proposal by the Abbott gov is a nonsensical, discriminatory decision that goes to the heart of this gov’s modus operandi: to further vilify those already marginalised in our society, to find creative ways to discontinue government support for the unemployed (along with other groups already significantly disadvantaged in our society, such as pensioners, the disabled, single parents) while simultaneously destroying jobs in the country, e.g. decimating the manufacturing industry, cuts to the public service, removing funding to a plethora of scientific organisations and social welfare programs etc etc. The result? An impoverished segment of society that can be more easily driven into forced labor (e.g. in the mining sector) where they will be forced to work for a pittance. Increased poverty. Increased homelessness. Increased crime. Increased domestic violence. And ironically increased drug abuse, as those targeted by this policy lose all hope of a decent life. Some will no doubt turn to the only thing they have left, an altered state of reality, self-medication that provides an escape from the dire reality of a social and political system that is seeking to annihilate them.

    Wrong on every possible level, but we could say that about every one of this putrid government’s policies.

    Until we introduce mandatory testing of every individual in Australia, every person receiving some form of government assistance, including middle class welfare, such as negative gearing and paid parental leave for high income earners, this proposal by the Abbott government can only be regarded as highly discriminatory and disadvantaging some of the most vulnerable in our society.

    The flow-on effects will have dire consequences for every single one of us, including Abbott’s ‘born to rule’ class. It will take more than gated communities to shield the privileged and wealthy from the ramifications of these irresponsible decisions.

  4. thoughtation

    Great Post but why are you surprised for being attacked? You tackled the issue head on and stated your reasons eloquently. That’s all you can do. Great job BTW

  5. CMMC

    They won’t be satisfied until, as in the U.S., the poor spend most of the day lining up for food-stamps, vouchers for power bills and waiting hours to see the few remaining doctors who bulk-bill.

    ‘I wonder would the apathy of wealthy men endure
    Were all their windows level with the faces of the Poor? ‘

    Henry Lawson , Faces in the Street

  6. corvus boreus

    Even though I understand, or try to the social factor’s influencing addiction(I, for honesty, am an alcoholic, just not a dysfunctional one). There is little merit in substance testing for welfare recipient to be a priority in either discussion or legislature.
    I do, to state again, welcome the chance to use the ploy to highlight the hypocrisy of those who espouse such ideas with regard to their own conduct. Drug test politicians before parliament, why not?
    Those in positions of public trust of safety are routinely tested, as are those in high risk occupations.
    It is a no-brainer on public interest based decision making, as far as I’m concerned, to demand sobriety.
    If this is addressed the discussion can move on to the wider issues of substances and society, but this discussion would be meaningless if it were conducted by, for theoretical example, people coked up to the point of egotistical sociopathy.
    If it is addressed by silence or implausible obfuscation, we must retain our attention spans and focus on the issue until it is resolved.
    The personal integrity of conduct of our elected reps with regard to substance taking might be a lid into the pandora’s box of other aspects of their dealings.
    Get a whiff of that!

  7. Mark Rich

    Why not focus on creating jobs, this idea that there is a great swathe of dole bludgers out there is another Liberal myth to feed the simplistic haters who vote for them. Reality ? jobs went offshore so greedy bosses can make even more money, our economy is in Asia and those on the dole are generally the innocent victims of that greed

  8. corvus boreus

    There should always be a focus on jobs, particularly ones that are sustainable,community beneficial, and, if resource based, make best use through clever value adding(maybe even some of that “science” stuff).
    Meantime poor decision making costs productivity(therefor jobs), as does corrupt conduct. Short of an ICAC (keep trying Senator Milne) a spotlight on the misuse drugs in politics may be best step to starting a welcome cleanup of processes and participants..

  9. David

    Of course if the Government was so concerned about the use of tax payers money to purchase illegal drugs then screen all of these as well:
    All Government Scholarship Recipients
    All Politicians, Federal, State and Local Government
    All public servants, state and federal
    Farmers who receive subsidies
    Mining Magnates who receive subsidies
    CEOs and Board Directors in receipt of corporate welfare
    All research groups in receipt of Government funded research grants
    All CEOs and Board Directors of NGO’s in receipt of Government funding

  10. Zathras

    I’ve seen this before and felt it was just a matter of time before it surfaced here.

    Back in the days of “One Nation” I found an American political movement with the same platform.

    They were extremely patriotic, anti-immigration and Christian with strong family leanings.

    “US jobs for US citizens with no outsourcing”, “support US-made products”, “cut back foreign aid – charity begins at home”, and so on.

    Their platforms were almost identical except for one significant difference.

    The US version wanted “drug testing for welfare recipients” and despite not having a party of their own, claimed to have infiltrated the Australia First Party in 2009.

    The name of that US movement was the Ku Klux Klan.

    I’m not suggesting that home-grown conservatives share all the same sentiments as the KKK, but the most sinister of ideas can be made to sound reasonable.

    If “the end justifies the means” to a politician, where are we heading as a society and who are we willing to sacrifice along the way?

  11. OnceGreatNation

    I despise illicit drugs.I have never touched pot even once, the thought of being defiled by even second hand smoke triggers revulsion. No traumatic past, I never witnessed my parents or friends using drugs, even pot.

    Yet I support the right of others to indulge in marijuana if they so wish, which my partner occasionally does, despite that I remind her frequently how strong my revulsion for it is, and avoid any chance of whiffing second hand smoke from it, and will not even kiss her unless she thoroughly brushes her teeth, and half an hour has passed. I have even told her I would prefer she have a shower afterwards before I am comfortable touching her, and even then sometimes I feel there is a chance I will somehow become defiled by it. Despite this, occasionally I walk into a waft of it in the breeze (almost vomiting).

    Everyone I know, knows how much I loathe illicit drugs, including pot yet because of the chance of faint exposure from my partners second hand smoke, there is the chance this drug testing regime for the unemployed could have dire consequences for me when I will likely lose my current employment this July. If I tested positive, any person who knew me would vouch how ludicrous the idea I could be positive for THC is,I doubt any of them knows a more anti drug individual than I am. But it sounds like the current government does not care much for facts.

    I agree with much of this article.

  12. Pingback: The LNP’s agenda for welfare. A clarification of what drug testing really means. |

  13. Sir ScotchMistery

    There is a level of concern amongst the community about illicit drugs, and there can be no doubting this.

    I am loath to be seen as some form of “classist”, placing those of the lower intellect/lower socio economic voter into a different “frame” than that which I inhabit, but I am forced to remind the current person occupying the seat normally reserved for a Prime Minister, that he got into that chair on the basis of the votes of those people from Western Sydney.

    Further, I am loath to point out to the current sitter in the chair normally reserved for the Prime Minister, that they will have very little else to occupy their time than remembering what sort of bastard came to them and promised them the earth, and gave them drug testing.

    The more I hear from this ignorant cretin, the more I have to agree with the Twitter #tag of #1termtony.

  14. Winifred Jeavons

    Surely the worst addictions are to power and wealth. What should we, the non-addicted do about these “drug” addicts and their impact on all other decent citizens ? Forced rehabilitation or removing the source of their problems ?

  15. kobymac

    The reason I previously asked have you ever taken a drug test (not pre-employment, though it is much the same) is your complete argument is about false negatives. I have had many preemployment tests and many workplace random drug tests. In every case, there is a comprehensive check list in a section”have you taken any of the following recently” with every known substance that can cause a false negatives, with examples. There’s also a section to add anything else and you also have an opportunity to discuss things. You wrote your article as if false negatives are a complete unknown to drug testers. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

    This test is more akin to an employmemt test, not a preemployment drug test. Not all employers are like the ones you described. In fact having previously been married to a recruiter at a major american oil and gas company currently doing business in Perth, I know of a story that might even warm your heart (I find it disgusting). You may know that in all job applications for any major resource company these days they prejudice based on whether you are an aboriginal/TSIer or not. They try and maximize the number of employees from these ethnicities. I actually dont have a problem with that part. In one case they found a suitable aboriginal applicant who dazzled them in interviews, but failed his pre-employmemt medical (THC). They turned a blind eye, treatment they never offered to anyone else and hired him, just to fill their quota of natives.

    I dont know what the plans the libs would have to administer such tests, as you are talking about a policy they have not introduced, but I can take a guess.

    Rather than sending people to the toilet with a cup, surely they would just take saliva tests, which like alcohol tests, can be conducted via hand held units. This can be administered by anyone with very little training. The resolution of these machines can only measure (or be tuned to measure) recent drug use and not trace, which are the results most likely aligned with false negatives. These tests are cheap and non invasive compared to urine, blood or even hair tests (wouldn’t want everyone in center link turning up with shaved armpits like Ben Cousins did to his drug tests). Then if a positive test comes up, refer them for a urine sample.

    If its treated like a typical employment random drug test, they could offer a 3 strikes policy like a lot of companies do. First strike is a warning. Second strike refer them to counselling/treatment then third strike you inflict whatever the penalty is.

    Its obviously policy they decided wouldn’t work, perhaps because referring to bulk billed councilors typically requires a few months wait, which defeats the purpose. If they truly had the intentions you insinuate, cheap saliva tests and a cut off in payments would’ve been easy to implement.

    The overall goal is not to stigmitise all welfare recipients, its to think of ways to prevent those from wasting their welfare. I once worked on a major infrastructure project and had one random test in a year on site, with several alcohol tests which the whole site received. This was work with a fair number of risks. The unions whinged and moaned about being unfairly targeted…..when I returned to my office where the most dangerous thing was my coffee mug, I had 5 random drug tests in my first year. Did I feel unfairly targeted? Nah, because people have the right, even a government, to determine whether their money is being invested well.

  16. john921fraser



    Stop guessing about how drug tests are conducted.

    Don't you have a job ?

    I've got to go now.

    So that I can pay my taxes to keep you ranting.

  17. DanDark

    Get them john, lol they have no brain
    You win John 921 🙂

  18. trishcorry

    Hi Koby,

    Did you miss the part in the blog post about the two examples when I worked in recruitment? These are two examples in six months, where a false negative occurred. Two examples where people were unfairly judged and two examples of discrimination and yes, stigmatization, albeit within a closed circle.

    I do not believe I need to validate my personal experience with a drug test to develop a POV on this topic, supported by research. I don’t normally just talk out the top of my hat. I normally for all of my posts do a fair bit of reading, so I don’t look like an idiot. People may not agree with my leftist ideology, but I think it is at least a solid leftist ideology and I don’t think I’m all over the place on any issues I discuss on here. People have a right to a right-wing, conservative or neo-liberalist view, but my point of view and theirs will almost always differ, as we view the world very differently. That is OK.

    My personal experiences are no-one’s business. If I want to share them with the public, I will; but not because someone else thinks I should. If the supporting evidence in my blog or my main argument is weak, argue that. Not what is relevant to my own personal experience.

    Yes, all research can be refuted, rebutted, but until you come back with an argument that is positive and does not segregate this group as a group that is ‘high risk’ group for drug use, with the aim to label and set aside in society; I completely disagree that the aim is not to stigmatise those on welfare.

    There are other ways to assist people with drug dependency and this should already be happening as an identified barrier to employment if employment agencies and govt assessors are doing their jobs. If one has a dependency on drugs, it should be seen as a barrier to employment and treated. Not punished. There are many factors that contribute to drug dependency and the causes not just the habit need to be addressed. This also can include depression, anxiety, chronic pain, previous abuse, self esteem issues, environmental factors etc., Not apply the assumption that they are a drug addled bludger and parasite on society.

    I do wonder if many people who advocate the support of this targeted stigmatising measure, think that welfare recipients are a group who get their dole cheque, go down the bottle-o, buy a carton, buy some drugs from wherever and sit around drinking, smoking and munching on Doritos whilst watching tv all week.

    So many tell the story of ‘I know this person’ or today I heard, ‘if you don’t think this is the case, you need to get out more” Well, I have many people that I know that are unemployed and I am also part of a grassroots group forming to assist the unemployed in my town. The never ending stories of constantly trying to get a job, constantly never hearing back. I am not talking an application here and there, Some people are talking about up to 150 jobs applied for in a few months. That is here, there and everywhere. It is heartbreaking for so many.

    The Government is already doing a good job making sure that Australians think that the disadvantaged don’t ‘do enough lifting’.

    I think the perception of the jobseeker in Australia is a young lazy oafish lout, probably with piercings and tatts (not that there is anything wrong with either, I’m stereotyping my view of what others think, not me) (and obviously a drug problem)

    Please remember that many of these people are single parents who juggle education and training, jobseeking, all family responsibilities and decision making, chores and financials, the time, love and care it takes in child rearing. Many are men and women over 50, who have lost their jobs and are facing age discrimination on a daily basis and some have not been in work for many years and now because husbands die or get sick, they need to get out and look for work after spending more than 20 years at home. Many are disabled / able-disabled jobseekers who need a bit more support and advocacy/liaison between jobseeker and employer. Some across all ages are simply not job ready and there have been so many cuts (in my state of QLD, not sure about others) that there is not enough support.

    This type of harsh punishment, due to the agenda of negative stereo typing is completely unnecessary. I am pleased to hear that the PM has said that he will not be implementing this. I hope that he may break his track record and actually keep this promise.

  19. kobymac

    Jon no I’m unemployed. But I haven’t and will never accept welfare, thanks for your concern though. I have some savings, I’ll be ok. Would you prefer me to accept tour generous offer of $500 / fortnight?

    I am speculating on the testing because this article is talking about a policy that is not happening. Duh.

  20. kobymac

    You are talking about pre employment tests though. Companies dont choose employees for a number of reasons, they dont really know the employee yet. On the health side, drugs and alcohol aren’t the only considerations. No its not fair if people dont get jobs based on a stuffed up test….but I can assure you second hand weed smoke wouldn’t show up in a saliva test.

    I dont have to believe your stories, nor do you have to believe those who failed their tests (particularly the weed one). Theres heaps of australian forums with people trading advice for beating drugs tests and offering excuses that might work. Your weed example is the oldest one in the book. Let’s face it – recruiters dont get involved in the drug testing itself, they merely are a middle man. Thays why i asked if youve taken a test yourself. I imagine you were a third party recruiter rather than in-house, since you didn’t offer much of a description of the companies reasons, or manage to change their mind. What you are assuming is the liberals would be exactly like your 2 examples. I’m a liberal supporter and I wouldn’t support it if there was no way you could challenge false results (which are rare, no matter what you say). But by saying its a huge problem based soley on your personal (unqualified) stories, doesn’t mean it is.

    You have a perception on our perception about welfare recipients. You think we think they’re all the same. You are wrong – but it makes your socialist arguments more effective when you chuck in the really misfortunate into the mix. It’s just those who dont need it who people have issues with. Those who have other avenues. You haven’t dont a good job explaining what affect taking a drug test on an individual has anyway. Is it embarrassment? Isn’t everyone in a centerlink office in there for the same thing?

  21. DanDark

    Kobymac piss off and go and tell someone who cares
    Give us a break with your condescending crap,
    Go find your liberal friends, oh they are dwindling now, cos of King Tone’s
    We’ll go take a long walk of a short plank, and save us all from your dribble 🙂

  22. trishcorry

    “You haven’t done a good job explaining what affect taking a drug test on an individual has anyway”

    I do apologise, I should have included that in my limitations. That would involve research of personal recounts and possibly semi constructed interviews with someone with that lived experience. I did however address this at a group level.

    I think I have made it very, very clear what drug testing has on the entire group of unemployment benefit recipients. It is the main argument of my last two posts. I am not quite sure how you missed it.

    You fail to understand what I am trying to demonstrate with the drug testing. You keep focusing on the intricacies of drug testing and not the broader social concerns or fairness concerns.

    With the (drug testing) process, what I am trying to demonstrate is that our systems are not fail proof or free from bias. I used these to cases to demonstrate what can go wrong with drug testing. Even without using recruitment as an example, there have been a few initial positive drug tests for roadside drug testing on that TV show, that have been proven inaccurate (I do not know the name of the show sorry)

    Even if you think this is valid and it does not stigmatise people; your arguments have the underlying assumption that all drug testing procedures are risk free and the decision making and complaints process in the event of injustice is easy and risk free as well, and that each individual has an intrinsic confidence to use the complaints process.

    This is where we need to start thinking of people as people. People as individuals and people with families. People who do not need to feel devalued or punished for being out of work. People who do not need to feel the shame in helplessness of being cut off welfare, or the same of being labelled a ‘potential drug user”

    How does this assist with job search self-efficacy or even job self efficacy in the first few months of employment? Have you ever worked closely with someone who has commenced employment after incarceration? Or someone working for the first time after a long period of mental illness and is reintegrating into community?

    The fears and worries about what other people are thinking? The lack of confidence with basic job tasks? What do you think will happen in society if we keep on this agenda of playing the negative stereotype card for those without employment? I really need you to look beyond that fact that this is not about drugs to fully consider what my argument is.

    When we look at people as a non-efficient resource that is not working to the best of its ability in the system or is costing the system too much money; we dehumanise them. That is the easiest way to distance that group from society. It has worked very well for the Asylum seeker debate in this country, as an example.

    One of my concerns is there will be a particular percentage of unemployed people who will not have the self efficacy to use the complaints process. There will also be a percentage of decision makers who will use unconscious bias or negative affect bias when having to think critically in their determination to make a decision to cut someone from welfare.

    OH please, please, please stop asking me if I have taken a drug test myself. It has no bearing on any of the research I have done. It has no bearing on the social justice issues at hand here. Oh and please continue trying to insult me by calling me a socialist as I wear that badge proudly. Particularly proud to be a libertarian/democratic socialist. My labour does have value and is not owned by anyone but me, and I would actively advocate to collectively organise for my rights and every inch of my mind, body and spirit as a woman has rights. I also advocate the right that freedom, liberty and equity go hand in hand. Something I think that may not be on your radar.

  23. kobymac

    Dandark – I notice the site owner posted something about a new website…he really loves all of the “debate”. Point me to it? All i see is one sheep after the other ranting like school children, agreeing with each other on everything, and getting a false sense of reality that they know things the rest of australia doesn’t because they are lied to. If there’s not diffent opinions, how can this site be considered anything other than bias?

  24. kobymac

    I was merely pointing out whilst false positives can occur, there’s methods for limiting them and it isn’t a show stopper. In any sort of police check, they always run a second test, whether it be alcohol or drugs. It would be unfair to punish anyone on a single test. There aren’t many things in this world that are risk free, but risks need to be taken sometimes. You have to remember also, sometimes when things fail you can fix them or just throw them in the bin. A conservative won’t keep throwing money at something that’s not working. Might piss a few bucks up a tree in the process though.

    I’ve had my own experiences with drugs and drug users. From my experience the only people who tend to feel stigmatized about potentially being drug users, are the users themselves. And alcoholics. There is a lot of denial involved because a lot of the time you still function normally and feel insulted that others question your own self control, I understand addiction is a bastard, I’ve just retrieved my 5th pack of smokes from the bin in 5 weeks after another failed attempt to quit. I am of the opinion that education before treatment before punishment is of course the correct order of action with substance abuse. However sometimes that’s just not enough and sometimes tough love is something that works. I know tough love is blasphemy for the socialist, but I’ve seen it work first hand. The socialist argument is always the women will turn to prostitution and the men will turn to crime if benefits are taken away. That line of argument is extreme and also not representive of all welfare recipients.

    Anyway, whilst I do back policy to encourage welfare recipients to spend their money wisely, I dont actually think drug testing would work. Too many ways to beat it, doesn’t determines if welfare money actually purchased the substances and not that many are actually on drugs anyway.

    I think people look into things too much, trying to a find a class warfare that isn’t there. Its very easy to go off on tangents to create a more compelling argument, but the average liberal supporter is fully aware of the average socialist (sorry will call you an independent thinker) tactic. The average liberal also cares for their fellow human, you just can’t accept it and always use money as an argument. “But you dont give enough”. Its depressing.

    Its interesting though that you think the dole bludger stereotype is unjust, when practically every political article on this site (not this one) is abusing people based on a typical conservative stereotype. No one is denying you rights, even abbott. If you believe liberty, freedom and equity go hand in hand, that explains why you lot are so money obsessed!!

  25. corvus boreus

    Kobymac, my immediate question, raised pragmatically for public interest, is; would you support mandatory drug testing for all parliamentarian prior to voting sessions?

  26. john921fraser



    " A conservative won’t keep throwing money at something that’s not working. Might piss a few bucks up a tree in the process though."

    From Abbotts FTTN to the absurd.

    How about taking a drug test before you pick up that shovel "kobymac" ?

  27. DanDark

    Kobymac, is as popular on here as a Big Mac full of maggots
    Geee he has a lot of time so sit and write crap on, go get a job twit

  28. trishcorry

    Koby, You have just argued that (neo-) Liberals (the LNP are not liberals) or conservatives care about people and they are stereo typed only caring about money. However, the basis of every argument in your post above is about money or deviant behaviour assumptions or negative assumptions for a group that has little or no money.

    “From my experience the only people who tend to feel stigmatized about potentially being drug users, are the users themselves”.

    You lived experience doesn’t match the personal recounts or stories form those already required to undertake this testing in the USA. Many articles on this topic cite “invasion of privacy” and “humiliation” Do you completely disagree that simply because of your classified labour force type, you are separated from the rest of society and viewed as a potential ‘drug user’ is not an humiliating act in itself?

    Your arguments are linked to ‘eligibility of welfare’ You give two examples. One is about an avenue for punishment ….

    “I am of the opinion that education before treatment before punishment is of course the correct order of action with substance abuse. However sometimes that’s just not enough and sometimes tough love is something that works”

    and the other is about that there is enough people on welfare who do not spend their money wisely, that it is a concern for the public good.

    “Anyway, whilst I do back policy to encourage welfare recipients to spend their money wisely, I dont actually think drug testing would work.”

    The difference between conservative thinking (your type of liberals) and socialist/liberal (not your type of liberals) thinking is that conservatives (neo-liberals) view welfare as a benefit that should only apply to those if they meet a strict criteria of need. ie ‘actively seeking employment’ any gaps or problems ie drug use, means that person no longer meets this criteria. This view is based on selectivity of ‘those who are deserving’

    Socialist/liberalist thinking is that the need for welfare is a basic right and should be shared by all. The problems or gaps (ie drug use, barriers to actively seeking employment) as a universal part of a wider problem and welfare should be applied equally to all. The problems and gaps or non-eligibility that the conservatives see is treated as a holistic part of a wider problem and not a deviant choice by an individual.

    This lends to your question “If you believe liberty, freedom and equity go hand in hand, that explains why you lot are so money obsessed!!”

    The reason for concern with conservative policy, is that it favours that ‘those that have the ability through money or power to progress’ it sees ‘all levels of the system are equal’ ‘that all individuals are equal in society’ and blame is self-attributed to the individual, rather than attributed to external factors.

    ie. If people want a job, they aren’t trying hard enough (conservative view, self-attributed blame to the individual, denial of external factors). That is the reason why socialist/liberal thinkers are obsessed with discussing the policy decisions of those who come from a position of money and power and who fail to understand the external factors, or how inequality occurs.

    The issues you have not touched on which are main points of what I am trying to say:

    Do you think that targeting this specific group for drug testing would or would not result in negative stereo typing of this group?

    Do you believe that targeting this specific group for drug testing may leave those feeling stigmatized and separated from society?

    Do you believe that if one is felt as ‘different’ to others in society, it would have a negative impact on job search self efficacy or job-task self efficacy or cultural inclusion in the workplace?

    Do you believe that one is set aside as part of a ‘different negative group in society’ that employers will view these people as positive enough to employ?

    If negative stereo typing and deviant behaviour is applied to this group, do you think employers may be concerned that they may act out deviant behaviour in the workplace?

    If you cannot see the wider picture and that this isn’t just about drug testing after this post, I am not sure you ever will.

  29. kobymac

    Corvus – yes I would!!! Absolutely, its the same principle. Why not all public servants? Early intervention is usually more effective than last resort interventions….and I think testing would catch an equal amount of recreational and addict users. But as I said, I dont think its workable for welfare…but not for the reasons the author gave.

    Jon – I wasn’t against the NBN, if it was as Labor said it would be. Ready by xxx, costing xxx. I’m not convinced we need 1Gbps speeds. There simply isn’t an application on earth, now, that needs it. And no one can say what we will need it in the future. We are talking about data speeds – what else besides video, audio and text do we consume using data? I have a 10mbps connection, pay 59.99 a month with unlimited downloads….and I can stream a 1080p movie no problems. I can Skype at 720p across the world, which on my TV looks amazing. We are merely talking higher resolutions and higher quality audio. You can in fact stream movies at 4k with a 20mbps connection and teleconference at 1080p easily at that speed. There are other teleconferencing technologies I used in uni and in the workplace over 10 years ago that worked perfectly….with multiple people/offices logging in from all over the world. At the moment it seems like the improvements are small when you get faster. I have heard possible future ideas that I think can all be achieved at current speeds…I’m not comfortable spending so many billions for benefits we dont know about. It was marketed as something that will actually provide revenue…,I think that’s a joke. Even TPG is building their own fibre network now I’ll of the high uptake areas…and TPG always undercuts every ISP. Rudd’s model required 100% uptake in the high uptake areas on his network to even consider providing it to regional areas…,it was a pipe dream. Fact is the coalitions NBN will cost us less to build and won’t limit us in the medium term. I can’t find a deal where I can get 10mbps with unlimited downloads with any isp ….the closest is several hundred gbs…which is probably more than enough, but that’s 20 bucks a month more than I pay now. I know my connection is above average….but even then, its not by much.

    Trish – I’m done with this discussion. I know where you stand, I was trying to explain (not effectively obviously) that I care for circimstantional need for welfare, but not laziness. I do not throw everyone in the same basket – nor does anyone I know. Bottom line is, the budget does not purposely target anyone – this budget is overall fair. In terms of drug testing – its not given to someone you think is a drug user. It is given to find out if you are a drug user. There’s a difference that gets lost in over thinking. Cut through the crap and focus on the reality.

  30. leighton8

    The State of Florida in the U.S. has tried just such a scheme (mandatory drug testing of welfare receipients) …. all it did was cost them a considerable amount of State taxpayer money and no real improvement in the numbers of “offenders” identified.

    I wonder if all the Australian Liberals are bought and paid for by the American A.L.E.C. group (i.e., owned and controlled by the Koch Brothers)?

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